Townsville’s wetland biodiversity has been celebrated as part of World Wetlands Day this Sunday.
The city’s wetlands at Rowes Bay and Town Common are a valuable natural habitat for more than 200 bird species, as well as other reptiles, mammals, amphibians and macro-invertebrates.
Community Health and Environment Committee Chairperson, Councillor Ann-Maree Greaney, said it was essential for locals to support the preservation of wetlands.
“Townsville’s wetlands are a unique, thriving metropolis of plant and animal life. Our wetlands consist of mangroves, floodplains, marshes, and rivers. These remarkable habitats play a key role for our city, serving as silent, natural safeguards against disasters,” Cr Greaney said.
“We also have a manmade ephemeral wetland in Kelso called The Borrow Pits. When the Ross River Dam was built in the 70s soil was taken from the 33ha site to create the dam wall.
“The pits fill with water during the wet season and create an oasis for local and migratory animals. Water can stay in the pits for years, depending on rainfall.”
Cr Greaney said that as well as providing a home for several animals, wetlands helped the natural environment by absorbing toxins.
“Our wetlands filter pollutants that run off the land through creeks and rivers towards the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.
“They slow down floodwaters, which helps lessen water inundation during heavy monsoon periods. Wetlands also trap sediment from floodwaters to prevent silt build-up in our waterways.”
Cr Greaney said it was great to see schools embrace education about Townsville’s wetlands.
“The grade one cohort from St Benedict’s Catholic School will be visiting the Bohle Wetland with a Landcare representative to learn about natural billabongs and how wetlands are beneficial to Townsville,” she said.
“Cultivating an understanding of the importance of our natural environment is so important for the next generation, especially around World Wetlands Day.”